England

County Durham cemetery overhaul plans unveiled

A limit on cemetery tributes and a higher charge for people from outside the area who want to be buried in County Durham may be considered.

Durham County Council's cabinet is set to approve plans to consult the public about the proposals.

They include a £1,725 burial charge for non-county residents compared with £968 for those from County Durham.

Another suggestion is to allow tributes for up to two months after which only small items would be kept.

There are also measures to tackle the problem of unsafe headstones.

'Emotive issue'

The proposals have been drawn up to unify the management of cemeteries which were previously operated by a number of district councils but are now run by the county council.

Its cabinet will decide on 13 April whether to go ahead with the public consultation.

It is responsible for two crematoriums, 47 open cemeteries and 83 closed churchyards.

Council cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships Brian Stephens said: "This is clearly an emotive and highly sensitive issue and it is, therefore, particularly important we seek the views of residents and other key people before any changes are adopted."

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